AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,227 Ratings
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
alesmith.com

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are typically sweet and malty, with a very subdued dose of hops– just enough to provide balance. AleSmith Wee Heavy is a wonderful interpretation of this traditional Scotch style.

Added by Jason on 04-19-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,227
Reviews:
472
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.07%
 
 
Wants:
211
Gots:
251
For Trade:
13
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,227 |  Reviews: 472
Photo of DrBier
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of olradetbalder
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml green bottle; purple painted label; simply capped, with silver foil neck wrap. Cellared at 60F for one year; and enjoyed at 50F in a beer-clean Imperial pint glass.

The nose is immediately noticed upon pouring, with rich, deeply caramelized malts and a hint of roastiness. Further investigation once it gets into the glass also reveals some brown sugar, even darker molasses, and dark vinous fruit (raisins, prune, red wine).

It delivers a full head of densely creamy light tan foam over a clear (at least on the first pour) dark chestnut/mahogany body with auburn highlights. The head retention is very good given the alcohol content, and it leaves super wide rings of lace about the pint.

In the mouth, it's surprisingly medium bodied (I was expecting it to be a bit fuller), and smooth.

The flavor is exactly as the nose indicates, with a bit more alcohol - and that's the only drawback to this otherwise perfect wee heavy... the alcohol needs to be more restrained. And that goes to fermentation, not gravity, so there's a fairly big flaw here. Still, I really enjoyed it and I might try it again.

 1,120 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A portion of the large bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours with a dark, hazy, red-brown body. A bit of sediment in the bottle was added in the pour and soon settled to the bottom of the glass.

Excellent sweet aroma and flavor. Faint dark fruits and compatible alcohol esters. Smooth body with low carbonation.

 321 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to multiple traders for sending bottles of this out my way.

Pours a very deep brown with a medium tan head. Several fingers quickly turn into a slight lacey ring. Nose is quite complex with caramel, brown sugar, raisins, brown sugar, miscellaneous dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Taste is similar, but not as strog nor as complex. Good solid body wihout much heat. Drinks nicely now; I'm looking forward to pulling out another one in a year or two.

 459 characters

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I can't believe I haven't had this beer until today.Pours a deep amber brown with a creamy light tannish colored head atop.Brown sugar and some meatiness in the nose,dark fruit makes it a full on malt dominated aroma.Dark fruit and caramel flavors with more sweet alcohol on top of it,very buttery with mild earth in the finish.A big sipping beer here with great full on flavors.

 380 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Brown with hints of red and decent clarity. Large tan head that settles down quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S - Malty sweetness, roasty notes, and a bit of alcohol. Some dark, rasiny fruitiness and maby a hint of smoke.

T - Smooth coffee and caramel flavors with smokey roast malt and significant hop flavors. Notes of rasins, dark caramel syrup, and roasted nuts. The finish is reminicent of chocolate covered coffee beans.

M - Medium carbonation with some astringency. The body is fairly heavy but the finish is dry.

D - This is a very full flavored and bold ale. It is well balanced and satisfying, though the aroma does not match the complexity of the flavor.

 693 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque though still clear extremely dark chestnut brown in color (approaching black) with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint amber + dark crimson red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy dark beige head that fairly quickly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel + toffee malts with a light to moderate aroma of slightly fruity yeast (fig + cherry) and just a hint of almost spicy alcohol.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with moderate amounts of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of dark fruit (fig + cherry) yeast. There is a light flavor of earthy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness which fades away almost instantly. There is a hint of smokiness and a hint of almost bourbon-like alcohol in the finish but the lingering flavor is caramel/toffee sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth, almost creamy.

O: Very easy to drink, hiding the alcohol pretty well, and very enjoyable. Not cloying or overly sweet, just enough hops to balance it out. Nice amounts of complexity.

 1,412 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown color with tan head. Aroma has lots of dried dark fruit like raisins and dates. Taste follows with the dried fruits, brown sugar and caramel. Not overly sweet, easy drinking especially for the high ABV. Heavy body with sticky feel and medium carbonation. Really good scotch ale, one of the best I had.

 313 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of billab914
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite the heat here this evening I felt like opening something big tonight. Poured from a 750ml bomber into my Dogfish snifter. Poured dark brown in color with a big dense tan head filling one inch of the glass. Beautiful looking beer and pour. Very good head retention and lacing as well.

The aroma has a sweet malty flavor to it with some fig and plum dark fruits coming through. Some caramel, toffee and brown sugar are present as well. Very nice showcase of the maltiness in the nose.

The taste has a big malty and sweet profile up front with some nice dark fruits, caramel and toffee coming through. Closer to the finish the beer shows more of a smoky, roasted, coffee, earthy bitterness to it that I really like. Just a little bit of alcohol coming through in the finish. Excellent tasting Wee Heavy, love the complexity.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side, with a nice creaminess to it. The carbonation is below average and pretty appropriate for the style and size of the beer. Drinkability is very good, it's an excellent tasting beer overall. Probably the best of the style I've had and another very impressive beer from Alesmith.

 1,149 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours really dark copper with a small bubbly tan head, quick to a thick lacing.
Smells accordingly, with sweet caramelised malts, mild toast, walnut, peanut, raisin, light dark cherry, faint herbal hop, spices, alcohol.
Sweet caramel and spices right at the start, backed by nice dried dark fruit (date, fig, raisin) and some "pulpy" dark cherry. Bits of baking chocolate, pepper, brown sugar, cookie dough. Not too earthy, but there's a really nice sweet nut flavor, sugared toast too. Warm booze in the finish.
Aftertaste has nice dried fig and date, some cocoa powder and nut peel, light toasted malts. Medium body and carbonation. Just sweet enough, and the alcohol is hidden enough, tho it tends to pile up.
Great stuff, perfectly in-style, and then some. Big surprise.

 774 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby tinged brown with 3+ fingers of tan colored head. some lacing & no head retention what so ever

S: Oakyness, vanilla & other bourbon notes, plus some leafy hops as this warms

T: Smokey caramel, vanilla, dryness, leafy hops & dark fruit up front. Brown sugar, more leafy hops, some baker's chocolate, some whispers of alcohol & more vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry with dark fruit & toffee

MF: Somewhat chewy with low carbonation, syruppy, very warming

Drinks very easy for the ABV & style, a little too much hops profile for the style & dryness kind of slows you down too. A good beer, just a bit off style, I do expect more out of Alesmith though. I expected more caramel, peat & less hops

 710 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber color, slightly murky. Good two-finger head that lasts a long time with great ring lace after each sip.

Strong caramel and toasted raisin; slight port aroma. Sweet like milk chocolate.

Slightly sweet, slightly hoppy. Closest description would be semi-sweet chocolate. Rich body with a good carbonation level. Not nearly as sweet as some Scotch ales. Chewy.

This is a delicious beer with a lot of flavor and richness.

 430 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pouring out dark, chestnut brown with a head reminiscent of frothed milk. Alright, this starts off my inaugeral AleSmith experience!

Smell: Stongly sweet caramel malt aroma coupled with a limitless amount of peat and smoke. Touch of oak. Some dark fruits glazed in maple syrup.

Taste: Starts off with a clean maltiness which blends effortlessly with the peat and dark fruit flavors. Again, a bit of oak in the equation. A bit like a nice tawny port. The hops, though present, are restrained and unobtrusive, allowing for the dark, wine-like fruits and sweetness to dominate (though, at no point is this beer overly sweet). A little time and warmth help to coax out some additional flavors of cocoa and toasted vanilla beans. A litte more time brings out some fusel qualities.

Mouthfeel: Medium, and so very smooth.

Drinkability: Quite so. I feel "very good" is an understatement. I think it's an *outstanding* beer, and one I thoroughly recommend.

 972 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pecan shell brown with a generous infusion of darkest crimson and edges of burnt orange. The liquid is nowhere near opaque, which makes me wonder about the heaviness of this wee heavy. The small, toasted tan cap is nicely creamy and lasts for quite a while. It also deposits an attractive lace signature on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is classic for the style, although it could stand to be more aromatic. I smell lightly roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel, cocoa and a drizzle of molasses. Thankfully, the aroma opens up with warming and realizes the potential that I knew was there all along.

Wee Heavy is wonderfully delicious beer. If you like your Scotch ales boldly flavored and malty sweet, with a dizzying array of complementary flavors (all of them good), then you've come to the right place. In fact, when I think of a beer of this style, this is the flavor profile that comes to mind. First off, hops are virtually absent, as it should be for the style. The brewers probably ran out after the latest batch of YuleSmith.

Malt is the undisputed king, with flavors reminiscent of dates (primarily), sticky toffee pudding with dark caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, molasses, sweetened tobacco, tangy peat and lingering tendrils of smoke. As I said, this offering contains every last style element that I can think of and combines them into a sweetly luscious, beautifully blended whole. I'm sorry that I questioned its bona fides when commenting on the less than opaque appearance. There's no shortage of flavor, that's for damn sure.

Alcohol is noted on the palate, although it's as welcome as it is in a fine, aged port. I'd like to think that roughly one year in my cellar was just what this beer needed to allow the various flavors to interdigitate and to allow the alcohol to mellow into the velvet hammer that it is at present. I need to slow down since my brain is beginning to fog over and typing is becoming more difficult.

I don't expect a wee heavy to have an Imperial stout-like mouthfeel, but I do expect it to be somewhat viscous and at least slightly chewy. Mission accomplished. I was happy with the first sip and I'm thrilled now that the bottle is more than half empty. The beer is becoming increasingly silky smooth with warming. Try as I might, I can't find any chinks in the armor.

AleSmith Wee Heavy is great beer. As noted above, it fits with uncanny precision into the Scotch ale/wee heavy blueprint that I carry around in my head. I'm kicking myself for not picking up more when I had the chance. On my next trip to Ohio, I'll be sure to grab a few more bottles of this outstanding ale from one of the best breweries in this, or any, country.

 2,698 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of duceswild
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 ml capped dark green champagne magnum, blurb about the beer on the back as well as how to cellar and serve. No freshness date though there is a vintage date of 2001 on the front.

Appearance: Charred chestnut colour with a well received clarity due to the sediment staying compact on the bottom of the bottle. Not a huge head but the lace really knows how to stick to the glass.

Smell: Mild flowing alcohol cradles some caramel and faint ripe fruity aromas. Spiciness from the alcohol warps around a ripe cherry and fig fruitiness.

Taste: Creamy and smooth with a slick back to it, faint undertones of roasted grain and a slight smokiness make themselves known first. Rich malty palate of caramel and mild ripe fruit runs across the taste buds. Alcohol is a well perceived presence but not in any over the top way, just with a mellow warmth and trace fusel alcoholic flavours. Bit of bready malt upfront is mostly lost in the end, the end seems more of a mix of the alcoholic strength and the ripeness it has transformed the byproducts into. Trace roasted grain and a ghost like smokiness appears in the finish.

Notes: This could be a perfect pairing with a cigar or as a night cap or even pair it up with a rich chocolaty & caramel dessert. Strong armed with alcohol and tiny complex flavours bursting throughout. This one has to get better with more age, the alcohol still seems a bit too brash but again not over the top.

 1,453 characters

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,227 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.